Right & Wrong
Merciful Lord, forgive me for my reluctance to take risks for You. Strengthen me with Your Word today.
Read Mark 8:27-9:1
 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”  Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.  He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.  But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”  And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat “hard words” does Jesus speak in this passage?
The Christ, or the Messiah, figured significantly in Jewish thinking as someone who would be a national hero. At that time the nation was looking for deliverance from the oppressive Roman occupation. Peter knew this—but although his intuitive declaration in answer to Jesus’ question was absolutely right (29), his understanding of what that would mean was absolutely wrong. If he was thinking of Jesus as the one who would bring freedom and deliverance from the Romans, he must have been shocked when Jesus began to teach the disciples about his death. No wonder he rebuked poor Peter. He was likened to the tempter (Matt. 4:1-11) in his desire to prevent Jesus from fulfilling what he obviously thought was his misguided purpose!
We know the freedom and deliverance that Jesus won for us on the cross. We can still easily get it wrong, too, possibly by focusing on the undoubted joy of salvation and peace with God while ignoring the cost—the denial of self and cross-bearing that Jesus says is necessary to be his disciple (34).
What price are you paying to follow Jesus? Is the “ yoke” you’re wearing comfortable? Why—or why not?
Lord Jesus, I need the courage and determination to take up my cross and follow You faithfully. Please help me.
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